Punctuating the rollout for their follow EP, 'The Burner,' Seattle-based outfit AVOID have spent the summer maintaining a consistent release schedule showcasing what is undoubtedly their most convincing work yet.
In as many months, the band has introduced three different visuals for offerings from the album, including "Flashbang!," "Song About James," and now, the Slab City showcase for the single, "Heat."
Each track thus far has underscored the band's ability to balance their penchant for heavy, with a knack for incorporating the melody and groove that make a song stick. The music AVOID is crafting delivers the kind of compelling energy that doesn't need to pummel the listener into paying attention.
The band has seemingly found their stride and are now making the kind of aggressive music that best identifies with who they really are. Opting only to meet their own expectations, the result has resonated with the likes of fans and critics alike. In fact, AVOID has been able to tap into mainstream success ahead of the album release, scoring a two-track feature on for the 704Games entry, NASCAR Heat 5.
Debuting the final single prior to the release of 'The Burner,' frontman Benny Scholl weighed in on how AVOID has grown into their own skin and have become better for it. He also revisits the band's recent road trip to "The Last Lawless Land in America," in Slab City - where the guys would eventually film the visual for "Heat" and explore a slice of humanity in the process.
The band ALWAYS looks like they are having a genuinely good time in your videos. How important is having a good time to the creative process for AVOID?
Scholl - Having a good time is everything to us! If you're not having fun, why are you doing it?
How did the idea of filming at Slab City for the “Heat” video come about?
Scholl - Honestly we went with zero intention of knowing how the day would go. We went on this week-long trip in June to just get a break from the world / we knew we had music videos to shoot so we figured two birds, one stone. Essentially we went on tour without playing any shows. We just took the van and stayed at truck stops and went adventuring in the middle of nowhere. 4 of us live in Seattle and our bass player Chris lives in San Diego and we wanted to find a way to have an adventure and still not be around people, cause ya know COVID, so we just drove down the west coast and took every day as it came. We didn't have a plan as far as the trip went, we had Chris up in Seattle, and we knew eventually we would end up at his place in San Diego, and the rest was up to the world. During one of the drives Chris saw a TikTok reminding us about Slab City. It's a spot we've wanted to see for a while, but never had the chance since it's a little out of the way, this trip was perfect. One of the days we decided we were just going to go check it out and see all of the art, we didn't expect to interact with anyone, but the guy who runs Salvation Mountain (the main art attraction to Slab City) saw our van and trailer and heard what our trip was about and told us we had to go check out the skatepark. When we rolled up we were welcomed by two locals there, and we told them about our trip and the band and everything and they quickly made us feel at home. Eventually we thought fuck it and asked if we could shoot a music video, since we had all of our stuff with us cause of the trip, and they were happy to let us.
There’s an interesting intrigue to America’s lawless city. What were some of the takeaways from the experience in filming there and were you ever worried at any point?
Scholl - It really makes sense, especially after meeting the people there. Of course when you hear "lawless city" a lot of things pop into your head, but in all reality everyone just looks out for each other. The locals just want what everyone in this world wants, to be accepted for who they are and be able to do their thing. It's a really beautiful community.
The band has really been productive this summer. “Flashbang!” dropped in July, then “Song About James” last month, and now “Heat.” Is the plan to drop a video a month before you release 'The Burner'?
Scholl - It's been a blast releasing music for the first time in almost two years this summer. The response has been far better than we could have imagined. This will be the last single we release off of 'The Burner' before it's released, but we have some goodies up our sleeve for next month too
'Alone' was a pretty heavy record. Thus far, The Burner, while still heavy, has some melodic dynamics and much more groove. Was the shift deliberate or was that just how the tunes came out in the writing process?
Scholl - Definitely how the tunes came out in the process. This is the first time in all of our lives that we have an embodiment of music that really feels like "us". Not to knock 'Alone' at all, but there was an element to that record where we were trying to be what we thought we should be, or what we thought other people would like us to be, and our perspective on everything has really changed since the writing of that. All we care about is being ourselves, making new friends and having fun in the process, and it should never be anything more than that.
What kind of headspace was the band in writing The Burner? The record seems significantly less pissed off than Alone.
Scholl - Honestly we're WAY more pissed off than we were with Alone hahaha. But we're less teenage angst angry, and more mad at actual things that have happened in the whole process of trying to make the band what we want it to be. As far as the music goes though, we just want to be ourselves and really this is what came out. I think when the EP is out in full, the last couple songs you haven't heard yet will surprise ya.
2020 has been a shit year, especially for musicians. AVOID seems to be the exception to that. What’s been your motivation to press on with such an impressive pace while the world is on pause.
Scholl - At this point we have nothing to lose, so fuck it why not right?
Lastly, the band's previous single was "Song About James" - who the hell is James anyway?Re
Scholl - I don't know... James Blunt?
Watch the Knotfest premiere of "Heat" from AVOID below.